Why I Invested in a Custom Designed Website as a Copywriter
November 26, 2018
You may have noticed that things look a little different around here.
That’s because I decided to collaborate with my brother Zach Hollatz, who is an incredibly talented website designer and developer (exhibit A: my website), during the summer. We’ve been secretly working on my new website design between my other client projects and months of travel.
I’m usually the first person to create a whole launch strategy around new website redesigns, but this time around, I wanted to drop it Beyonce-style.
Now you may be wondering… Kayla, why did you invest in a custom designed website when you already had a website that was working for you?
While we kept much of the copywriting the same, I desperately wanted a website that visually represented more of who I was and how my business had evolved. After two years, my website was in need of a minor tune-up rather than a facelift.
I traded my previous editorial black-and-white layout for fun pops of color and highly interactive features. Interestingly enough, I kept all of the same visual branding elements I created with Allison of AllieMarie Designs in February 2017 (including my logo, patterns, and beyond), but I added a few more custom illustrations and icons when collaborating with Zach.
01: I wanted to switch website platforms (Squarespace to WordPress)
Although the overall strategy and messaging of my previous website were working well (meaning it continued to bring me dreamy clients that I love working with!), I knew I wanted to invest in a website with more custom functionality.
This website project is a culmination of all the things I’ve dreamed of doing with my website but never had the opportunity to do because I was working from a limited template.
I want to preface this by saying that I still think Squarespace is a great website platform for many creative entrepreneurs, but my business grew to a point where I wanted to invest in a custom designed website. It was even more important to me as a website copywriter to have a website that wows my clients and shows them the possibilities of what they can create with their own websites.
I have all kinds of plans for what I would like to do with my website and the different pages I’d like to add to it, but in the meantime, I can rest easy knowing that this will be my last platform change. It feels so good to say that!
Here’s what my website platform journey has looked like:
- 2011-2013: Tumblr
- 2013: Weebly
- 2014-2015: Blogspot
- 2016-2018: Squarespace
- 2018-Future: WordPress
Are you tired just reading that? I sure am!
I’m sticking with WordPress now that I have the capital to invest in ongoing updates and custom designs that will enhance my business. I wasn’t there just a few years ago, but I am now and very grateful for it.
02: I am a website optimization enthusiast
I was about to give myself the title of “website optimization freak”, but “enthusiast” also fits. There is always room to optimize your website or anything for that matter.
While I was continuing to get compliments on my old website, there were a few key areas I wanted to improve that I knew would make a bigger impact:
Mobile Website Design Layout
Many of you know that with Squarespace, you are really limited on the kinds of changes you can make to the mobile design without it compromising the desktop version. I always felt like when I built my website on Squarespace, I had to choose which device I cared more about. When building my new website with my brother, he assured me that all of the things we wanted to do solely on the desktop version could be done while keeping the mobile version similar but more optimized. This was a clear win for me!
For years, I salivated over custom blog designs that were hosted on WordPress. Squarespace blog layouts are very limited, meaning there aren’t many customizations you can make to your layout to have it look different from thousands of other businesses who use your same template. Since I started my business from my blog, I always dreamed about having a custom blog homepage with a “letter from the editor” intro and a quick-start guide. Now that I have it, I couldn’t be more thrilled!
Website Footer Design
While you can create great footers on Squarespace and WordPress alike, I never took the time to create a dynamic footer, yet I always coveted my friends who had amazing ones… *face-palm*. When I worked with Zach on the new website design, I told him that I wanted a grid-inspired footer that mimics the look of my business cards, but otherwise, he could run with it. He created something that I’m massively in love with, and it’s become one of my favorite features of the whole website.
While my website copy has a dash of Midwestern quirk to it, my old website layout looked more editorial. It worked for me when I wanted to position myself for higher budget clients, but now that I’ve solidified my brand’s positioning, people are buying into me and who I am as a collaborator. Because of that, I want to bring more of that high-energy spirit and personality to my design. Zach and I brought out my personality primarily by creating custom icons and incorporating fun fonts that seamlessly fit together.
03: I was thrilled to collaborate with my brother (#AllTheFeels)
While I love the final product Zach and I created together, it was even more rewarding to collaborate with him on a bigger project. We’ve always had a special bond as siblings but having a project to work on together gave us an opportunity to bond even more.
As a solo entrepreneur who doesn’t outsource much of anything in my business (not even my taxes yet!), it was incredible to trust his BRILLIANT creative vision for the website and see him bring it to life. I gave him some direction with my overall website strategy, but the vast majority of what you see is because of his amazing talent.
I’m trying not to be too sappy in this blog post (because as a high-feeling Enneagram 4, you know I can go there!), so I’ll just end by saying that one of the biggest privileges of growing my business thus far is hiring my brother to work on my website. I couldn’t be more proud of him and the final product you see today. *wipes tears*
Okay, back to business. If you are loving the full design and build of my website while dreaming of having something similar for your own business, let’s talk about what a collaboration could look like.
My brother and I are opening select client spots throughout 2019 to work together on custom websites – including website strategy, copywriting, design, and development among other conversion and SEO optimizations. Click here to tell us more about your project!